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Charter school Center for Advanced Learning needs leader with varied strengths

OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO - Carol Egan, director, Center for Advanced Learning, will leave the school at the end of the school year. The Center for Advanced Learning (CAL) needs a new leader, as director Carol Egan will be leaving at the end of the school year.

After seven years at the helm, Egan said she asked the board of directors of the charter school to not renew her contract as director. Her contract is up June 30, 2019.

CAL, 1484 N.W. Civic Drive, is a popular charter high school that focuses on career and technical education. It is sponsored by the Gresham-Barlow School District and accepts students from Gresham-Barlow, Reynolds and Centennial.

James Hiu, assistant superintendent and director of human resources for Gresham-Barlow schools, is shepherding the search for Egan's replacement.

This week, the Gresham-Barlow district posted the director's job and will be looking for applications through mid-January. The district is searching for applicants in neighboring states, posting notices on appropriate social media and working with the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

"We believe that putting it (the job posting) out now is good timing," Hiu said.

January is the month when many school administrators are hired. Hiu said he hopes to have the next director hired by March 1.

"The CAL board is committed to hiring the right director."

Conceding the director job "is not a typical building administrator position," Hiu noted the individual has to be a credentialed school administrator with the ability to work with a board of directors comprising school district superintendents and professionals. The director also has to forge strong partnerships with businesses and manufacturing companies to work with CAL and its students.

Egan said she wants to "seek new opportunities that will allow me to further advance secondary and post-secondary CTE (career and technical education) programming and promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) statewide and regionally."

She does not yet have another position but said she plans to remain in the greater Portland area.

Students attend CAL for half a day and can study six different disciplines from health sciences to product creation and development. The other half of the day they attend high school in their home district.

Throughout Egan's tenure, she and her team — with the help of local business and partners — increased enrollment at CAL and pushed the graduation rate to above 97 percent. That compares to a state average of about 77 percent.

Egan is also credited with increasing the enrollment of under-represented students from about 20 percent to 47 percent.

She started several new programs including an entrepreneurship program and one that focuses on the design and production of athletic wear and products.

Under Egan's leadership, CAL partnered with Clear Creek Middle School and Gordon Russell Middle School to start a coding class to teach basic computer programming to younger students. CAL also started a week-long summer camp for middle school students to learn to code.

Prior to becoming CAL's director, or principal, in June 2012, Egan was principal of Athey Creek Middle School in Tualatin. Before that, she was the director of curriculum and instruction at Bellingham Public Schools in Washington.

Egan "has been a champion at marketing CAL," Hiu said, adding "Carol has done a great job providing leadership."

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